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Student to President: Mr. Tucker’s Story

MHS Media journalist Trinity Eadie writes this story about the leader of Marist High School, attempting to tell his story from his perspective, based on her interviews and research.
Mr. Tucker during a game in 1983 (left), and before his speech for the Sportsplex’s grand opening in 2023 (right).

My journey has been filled with both victories and losses, yet they have not been in vain. From a student who walked the same halls from a time where things were different, to the president who oversees the entirety of Marist through a faith-filled lens. This is my story.

I started at Marist in 1976, a freshman in an all-boys school. Left and right, boys filled the hallways and classes. As time progressed, I became accustomed to this school. Classes became familiar, and friends piled up as the four years were quickly coming to a close. The feeling of enjoyment and excitement filled me as I knew my experience was amazing. Marist was the place to be, and I loved every second of it. The times I spent with my friends in the classes fooling around, yet taking things seriously when it called for it. But, nothing could compare to where my true passions lived outside of the classroom: basketball.

I have always loved basketball. The feeling of the ball in my hands, the rubber on my fingertips as I hold onto or pass it to another teammate, reliance upon them to carry us closer to a win, and displaying either excitement or disappointment in gaining or losing a valued point. Running, jumping, and the adrenaline during a play that turns into beads of sweat and progresses into the thirst for victory—and water as well—was the best feeling. But most important of all, the development of one’s own skills and abilities through hard work and dedication while being recognized by those watching you from their seats. It was exhilarating to say the least. I knew what I wanted to be, and decided that basketball would be my life. As long as I could be on the court, that was all I needed.

Brother Rich Grenier, a man full of tales filled with wisdom and humor, became an important aspect of my basketball journey. He would open the gyms every summer day for anyone who desired. The air conditioning brought relief from the heat of the sun, the screams and shouts of boys echoing throughout the gym as we all played and practiced, and growing my skills daily; it was everything to me. 

Once I’d graduated from Marist, I attended Lewis University on a basketball scholarship, something I was very proud of, but decided to become a business major. Educating was not on my mind at all. In fact, it was the last thing I thought I would ever pursue. My four years were simple, yet challenging as any college graduate would relate to. Assignments, the after hours of activity with my new friends, time spent on homework and projects that broadened the idea of teamwork and further information on how to deal with sales. It was an experience that I believe everyone who would attend college in the future would come to appreciate once they reach that stage of life.

As soon as those days came to a close, I was given something special. I was ecstatic at the thought because of the chance I’d been given. A chance. One chance. What chance? A chance to pursue a small trial of being on the Cleveland Cavaliers.

 Joy settled in me as I took this opportunity to grow my skills and experience the court and team in a way I had never experienced before. An entirely new experience of getting to know my new teammates,  a new court to walk and run on, yet the same feeling of the ball in my hand, and the same purpose I always knew I had to have: get the ball from point A, to point B, and secure victory.

However,  sorrow overcame me as my term was cut. The feeling of losing something you’d held on to so dearly, even if it was just for a moment, was disappointing. But, there was something waiting for me on the other side of the court.

Once I’d been cut, I chose to work at a sales job downtown Chicago for a few years. I had traveled to do business often, and the thought and effort soured my thoughts as I grew to hate doing this. Tired and frustrated, I knew I needed to do something different.

In the midst of frustration, I received a call from a basketball coach asking if I wanted to coach, and I gladly accepted. I said goodbye to my sales job, and hello to a bright, new future with the Marist basketball team.

Remember when I said I wasn’t interested in educating? My mindset had changed as I asked the coach, “If you can get me into teaching, I will come here and coach.” I ended up teaching classes that same year.

However, my mind would change once again as I had only stayed for two years before making the choice to coach basketball at Brother Rice. 

It had been 10 years since I stopped coaching for Marist, but something brought me back. I wanted to go back. Disappointment filled me as there were no open positions to apply for, so back to Brother Rice it was, and that’s where my focus was on for the next five years.

In 1998, the principal position at Marist opened up. I was hesitant to consider applying, yet words of affirmation from those close to me assured me that I would be a fit for the job, so I did it. I knew there would be an interview, and anxiety filled me, but I made sure to keep my composure to ensure a successful outcome. I had a feeling I wasn’t going to get the job, but low and behold, I got the offer.

My time as principal was so different from everything I had done. The sight of boys still roaming the halls came to a close after the executive decision was made to make the school co-ed in 2002 due to alumni who wished for their children to walk those same halls they did.  This brought about a change in the atmosphere, and choices to rebuild, restore, and improve the conditions of the building were all things that came from humble beginnings. It was astounding how Marist went from an all-boys school of the past, to a new and improved school that was not only inclusive, but paved the way for being more deeply connected with students. Watching them, talking with them, a feeling of fondness grew in me as time passed. Aside from the kids, what I  enjoyed most was the development of the sports teams, such as basketball and football, and watching as wins began to come across the board.  I grew close to the people I worked with. It was the kind of connection that made this place, this position, feel like home. But I didn’t know where my choices would lead me. 

For more than two decades, I was principal and I was satisfied. Comfortable in my own chair, I relaxed knowing Marist was in a good position of growth and development with the proper leadership it needed, but 22 years later my life took another turn. I heard news that the president position opened up. The sudden change came from the brothers leaving. Confusion and worry came over me as even the current president of that time, Brother Hank Hammer, chose to step down from his role. His choice led to the new decision that a lay person would assume the role, which would definitely be different.

“You should run for president,” said enthusiastic coworkers, but I was hesitant at first.  I loved being the principal. Things have a strange way of sneaking up on you sometimes. I changed my mind once again and chose to pursue it. 

Brother Hank, a kind and good, honest man, invited me to meetings to get used to the environment as president. Satisfied, I grew familiar with the setting of what he experienced, and that’s when I decided I want this. This position. This responsibility. This chance.

I applied for the position, and I went through the interview process just as I did before, but this time it was different. The brothers interviewed me.  I was filled with uncertainty from the moment I had left the interview, my mind and heart spiraling. 

“Am I going to get it? Did I say and do enough?” I wondered.  But most important of all, “What will they say?” It was nerve-wracking, but in the end I heard the answer I had been hoping for.

Accepted. I was chosen as the new president of Marist High School. 

From then on, my goal for Marist was to see things through a faith-filled lens. Ideas flooded my mind of what to incorporate regarding our mission, our culture, and it all came to me. My father used to say to me, “leave a place better than when you found it,” and I intended to do just that. The halls, lively and bright as students talking with their friends fill what silence was once there, the science wing giving an entirely new experience to expand students’ learning, glass paintings, more classrooms, new morals, values, faculty and staff. It was an entirely new Marist that I witnessed even if it all came together much later in 2020. I was a part of it from start to finish. This school has truly evolved.

I am currently 62-years-old. My time as president has been precious to me. New memories of both trials and tribulations come to me as I think about my time in this chair and years past in this school. My time as teacher and principal were valuable, but living in this moment is everything to me. Life is short and unexpected, so I would like to make the most of it.

What do I want to leave this school with once I step down?

I want to make sure that everyone knows I cared about the kids, the staff, the faculty, the brothers, this building, and Marist as a whole. When I’m gone, I want the one who walks in my shoes to understand that no matter how great facilities or programs are, they cannot materialize anything. It’s not about the big things, but the small things that really matter here. Marist. Marist is family, community, faith, love. But most importantly: it’s home.


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About the Contributor
Trinity Eadie
Trinity Eadie, Journalism and Media 2 Writer
My name is Trinity Eadie, and I’m a junior here at Marist. I was in journalism 1 and have leveled up to journalism 2, so I’ve been writing for a while. I like to read books in all genres. I like to make creative writing stories for fun. I enjoy watching horror movies and 90’s sitcoms. I like listening to music by the band Her’s, and my dream is to write a book.
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